Vantage point

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

I have been doing absolutely nothing for the past two days. Eating, sleeping, watching TV and spending time with friends.......hey wait, that isn't "nothing", that is everything that I love to do. =-)

I generally succeed in fooling at least some people on All Fool's Day. Yesterday too, I met with sucess as I told Pushkar and Sunil that we have to give a 50 page write-up about the 'Strategic Aspects" of our summer internships when we go back to Lucknow. This has to be different from the project report that is already expected. Both guys expressed their contempt for the Strat-Man prof in the choiciest of invectives....Pushkar made a lot of those red-faced "angry" smilies on MSN messenger, where I told him.

My intention of fooling people who read my blog was foiled because publishing was disabled yesterday. =-( Oh well...

Today morning I was flipping channels and came across "Cricket Classics" on Ten Sports. Now usually they show very boring matches, and many times those that India lost (grrrrr). But this time I saw a lean Imran Khan run in and get Vengsarkar's wicket, and I thought, hey this really must be a classic. It was. It was probably one of the most memorable Indian wins ever, and the second most fantastic match at Sharjah (first place grudgingly granted to Miandad's last ball six....third place to Sachin's desert storm). Imran took 6 wickets for 14 to bundle India out for 125 and India came back to dismiss Pakistan for 87 after they were a comfortable 35/1. It felt great to watch the highlights. A few observations -

*Duuuuuude, Imran was fast!! Not only was he fast, but his bowling seemed a notch above anyone in contemporary cricket.

*Gavaskar, whose brilliant catches started the Paki slide was 36 at that time and was still so spry.

*L Sivaramakrishnan who must have caused you distress through his insipid commentary during the World Cup was a splendid turner of the ball. One wicket of his was a typical Shane Warne type dismissal, landing way outside leg and turning sharply.

*Rameez Raja's looks haven't changed much.

*Can't say the same about Ravi Shastri

*In general the Indian team then sported a lean and fit look. They seemed to be natural athletes, and no wonder they dominated the game at that time.

*The Indian crowd contingent kept going "We are the champions..we are the champions..". This match was in 1985, and India had won the Benson and Hedges World Championship in Australia just some days ago (without losing a single match, I might add). 2 years back we had won the World Cup. It must have been a heady feeling to be an Indian supporter then. Jaane kahan gaye woh din....... hopefully those days'll be back soon. =-)

Seems like it is gonna be a while before we see another India-Pakistan match. Hey that reminds me, I read an interview of Indian playback singer Abhijit last week. He was grumbling about how we let Pakistani singers come to India and mint money. He said the government is being unfair. On one hand it bans cricket because of the terrorism, even though our cricketers are welcome in Pakistan. But though our singers and artistes are unwelcome in Pakistan (Lata Mangeshkar was denied a visa some years back!!!!!!), our music can not be sold there, and our movies are legally banned, we keep the one-way inflow of Paki artistes and outflow of Indian money going. His exact words were "yaha sirf chaar roti hai humein khane ke liye...aur aap dushman ko dawat de rahe ho".

Hmmmm, dude's got a point. Why the double standards? Why allow singers and disallow cricketers? While in the larger scheme of things it may seem puerile and churlish, if you understand where he is coming from, it seems reasonable. I find our Government's attitude of "No Cricket" stupid (especially since we are a better team than them now..LOL) but what I find more stupid is the Pakistani establishment's attitude. Indian songs and movies are banned...a ban which is totally ineffective. Any Pakistani will be able to tell you the story of the latest Indian movie, cos the pirated VCDs are sold rampantly. In fact even the pirated VCDs sold in India, like Sadaf, are of Pakistani origins. I have never seen a Pakistani TV channel show an Indian song, in fact when PTV showed some songs a year back as a part of a show that talked about plagiarisation, there was a major brouhaha in all the newspapers. Our artistes are not even allowed official presence there...and we help their artistes mint money.

I am not saying we follow this silly tit-for-tat policy all the time, just trying to understand Abhijit's point of view. Is it OK to mix politics and sports but not OK to mix politics and art(!!)? So far except for the Shiv Sena, official India has welcomed Pakistani artistes. The gesture is not reciprocated. So what should be done? About sports, Musharraf has already shown his silliness by saying "India is scared of losing in cricket to Pakistan" and then having to eat those words. Anyway, after the Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi issue, Pakistan has no moral standing left to say to anyone "Don't mix sports with politics". what am I saying here? Ban Pakistani artistes? Allow cricket? I don't know. But I do understand what Abhijit is saying. And I would love to see an India-Pakistan match again before 2007.